Swiss Rolls are one of those photogenic bakery items that people think look too pretty for normal people to successfully prepare. Kinda like the most beautiful girl in the senior class who doesn’t get asked to the prom cause everyone thinks she already has been. But our little Swiss Miss will be invited everywhere and will surprise you with ease of prep and utter deliciousness.
Most people hesitate when thinking of rolled cakes because…..rolling. They think it will crack. And it rarely does (never with me) and if it cracks you have whipped cream to spackle it with so let’s get going with it:
But first things first. The cake. It’s a sponge cake that you bake in an ungreased cookie sheet with edges, also called a jelly roll pan for obvious reasons. You will line it with paper, evenly spread the batter over it, and cook for 15 minutes or until just golden. Then loosen the edges with a knife, flip it onto a dishcloth and peel the paper off.
The Science of Rolling
While still warm fold an edge of the towel over the end and roll up gently. Leave it there till cool for about half an hour. And as for the dishcloth you want one that’s got a flat weave so that it will roll more tightly and not scatter lint on your masterpiece. As you can see I lacked that and so used a regular old dish towel which, although not optimal, worked ok. Any lint that escaped the confines of the towel was subsumed into the whipped cream and went unnoticed by those eagerly gobbling the finished product. So be flexible when you must and usually things will work out.
Rolled up it will look like this: While that’s cooling you will whip your cream and slice up most of the berries saving a few for decorating the top. You’ll also want to save a little of the whipped cream for the decorative blobs on top. If you don’t have a pastry bag with a tip don’t worry. Put a few spoonfuls in a plastic bag, snip off one corner, and squirt you some very professional dollops of cream. Below behold the whipped cream fixins. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Once unrolled use a pastry brush to spread the jam mixture over the cake then spread the whipped cream over that and cover with chopped strawberries. Roll back up carefully and dust with powdered sugar. Add the whipped cream and berries to the top then transfer to a serving dish, put in the fridge for an hour to cool the whipped cream and you are ready to serve. It will keep for a couple of days there without getting soggy. (It won’t last that long but just for the record it could.)
And a tip. You can use other fruit but I’ve found strawberries and peaches to be overall best. Blueberries bleed a little but taste good and are a nice addition if you’re making a fourth of July patriotic roll. If you like blackberries and raspberries go for it. I love both but not so much in this because of the seeds and they are a little too tart. But to each his own.
And that’s it, folks. A gorgeous filled cake that’s surprisingly not too filling, just flavorful and light.
- For the Sponge Cake:
- 4 large eggs room temp
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- ½ tsp baking powder
- For the Syrup:
- 3 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- For the Strawberry Filling:
- 1 cup whipping cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 1 tsp. orange zest
- 1 cup strawberries chopped (reserving several berries to garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of an 18x13 rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (do not grease). The paper should just cover the bottom.
- Add eggs & sugar to a bowl and beat on high for 4 to 5 min until thick & about triple in volume.
- Whisk together flour and baking powder and sift into egg batter one third at a time, folding to incorporate.
- Transfer to the baking sheet & bake at 350˚F for 13-15 min or until top is barely golden. Remove from oven and right away run a thin edged spatula or knife around edges of your cake to loosen from the pan. Immediately invert cake face down onto a clean, dry linen towel, remove parchment paper then roll cake into the towel. Let cool to room temp (30 min - 1hr).
- Meanwhile, thin the apricot jam with the liqueur or with water & set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, orange zest and powdered sugar. Beat together starting on low speed to incorporate sugar, then turn the mixer up to high speed for 2-3 min or until whipped, white and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed. Save a few tablespoons for topping if desired.
- Carefully unroll cake and loosen from the towel. Brush the top evenly with the jam. Spread out the filling but not to the edges. Place chopped strawberries on top then roll the cake tightly in the same direction you rolled it the first time. Slice off the edges if desired and dust generously with powdered sugar.
- If you are topping it with whipped cream put into a pastry bag and do several dollops and top with a sliced half strawberry in the center.
To prevent cracks the cake should be rolled in the linen towel right after it comes out of the oven.
You can use straight Grand Marnier as the syrup if you want a little more punch.